- Movie Rating -

Russkies (1987)

| November 14, 1987

There is a sadistic side of my brain that wants to imagine that the disposable kid’s action picture Russkies is taking place in the same universe as Red Dawn.  I mean, even in the maelstrom of World War III, there has to be some good will right?

Both films have about the same patriotic heft, but sadly both films seem to be lacking in brain power.  Of the two Red Dawn was better, but that’s not saying much.  That was a Reagan-baited nightmare scenario while this one is just forgettable and silly.

Set in Key West, Florida on the 4th of July (!), Russkies assumes more or less the same palette as E.T. only in this case the alien is red instead of green.  He’s a Soviet sailor named Mischa (played badly by American actor Whip Hubley) who has been washed overboard in a storm and ended up on the Florida shore.  Awakening, he is befriended by a trio of little boys for whom war games are part of their daily routine.

The kids, of course, have been fed a steady diet of pro-Americanism which leads Jason (Stefan DeSalle) and Danny (Leaf Phoenix) to suggest turning him in like a good American.  This does not sit well with their buddy Adam (Peter Billingsley) who warms up to Misha and makes him a new pet friend.  Of course, Misha can’t stay in America (the subject of defecting never comes up) so they plot to get him back to his country before the ugly Americans have their way with him.

What comes of this is never interesting, never developed and never really more than a hoo-ray for Americanism – TV, firecrackers, blue jeans, fast food.  To be honest, I have a feeling that the movie could have spirited the kids through the values of these things without the wayward Russian sailor.  None of the adventures here are anything you can’t predict and Hubely’s performance (he was born in New York) feels like a bad Saturday Night Live skit.

I am tempted to say that kids might like this movie, but I wouldn’t hoist this mess on their still-forming brains for anything.  Instead I’d show them E.T. if they haven’t seen it.  It’s a much more full-filling adventure, warm, exciting and fun.  And it spares us a bad accent.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Action